I'm beginning to think there's nothing wrong with plastic phones

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| November 28, 2013

Change always causes a ruckus. It's inevitable as the change itself. It can only get worse the longer something exists without change, because people can find themselves in two different, but very vocal camps: the first camp, which doesn't want change to come. The folks who love what they've been using for years, with each new device, and don't see a reason to change anything. And then there's the second camp, the one clamoring for change and yet unimpressed and unhappy with the changes that do inexorably show up.

iOS is a perfect example, even if we are going to be focusing on the hardware here in just a few moments. iOS is a mobile operating system that, up until this year, has looked pretty much exactly the same since its debut in 2007. That's a long time to be using something that's not being visually refreshed all that much from year to year. But, with iOS 7, we got to see the reveal of both those aforementioned camps quite distinctly.

Change may be inevitable, and it can take quite some time before it's implemented, but it usually never arrives with universal praise. We know it's impossible to make everyone happy, and it is usually the dissenters that are the loudest. But change has to happen. Companies have to grow, upgrade and revamp to keep things fresh. Eventually, they have to start talking about the people that aren't using their products because they don't like the looks of it, or it's missing features they need/want.

They just hope they don't lose more customers in the process of trying to win more into the fold.

Moving forward, I don't want to talk about just one company, even though that could be the easiest route. My fellow editor, Anna, discussed yesterday what she'd like to see in the next Galaxy S model from Samsung, and she brought up the body of the device -- as she should. Instead of telling Samsung to skip plastic altogether, though, she said that she'd be okay with seeing the company use that faux leather battery cover recently seen on the Galaxy Note 3. Plastic and all.

That spiked my interest. I hear a lot about Samsung hardware every single day, and usually it's tuned to the idea that Samsung needs to bail on plastic phones and go with something more like aluminum and glass, like we've seen with HTC recently. The argument is a simple one: How can the Galaxy S 4 (or Note 3 for that matter) be a high-end phone when it feels like a toy, because of the plastic? Put side-by-side with the HTC One the HTC-branded device obviously comes off as a more premium device, simply because of its physical construction. But, Samsung wants you to dig into the software to find that premium feel.

But, change is inevitable, so we know that Samsung has to be working on changing the physical design of its devices eventually. Will it be next year, with the release of the next Galaxy S or Galaxy Note models? It could be. We've certainly heard rumors that Samsung is gearing up to use metal and glass for their next devices, and I have no doubt that many out there would be happy to use a device like that from Samsung.

But, what about LG, or Motorola, or even Nokia/Microsoft? Do all of these companies need to jump onto the "high-end" train with their physical cues for their devices? LG and Motorola have seen some success with their plastic phones, especially this year with the G2 and Moto X respectively, but they're certainly not made from metal. But, could price play a part in those situations, rather than the build of the device?

Do we really think Motorola, LG or Nokia would see more success if they made metal/glass designs, instead of something else?

So, I want to know if you think these company need to start using metal in their phone designs, or if you think they can stick to using plastic. Do you prefer one over the other? Why or why not? Let me know what you think.